Capitol Update Week 3

News  from District 96

This week, the announced a K-12 funding package for the 2020-21 school year that will provide schools with additional resources that they can depend on. Additionally, the plan will take into account many of the challenges that school boards and administrators have brought to lawmakers and targets additional dollars to address these problems.

The plan offered by the House will provide schools with an additional $108 million next school year, bringing total state investment in Iowa’s K-12 system to nearly $3.4 billion per year.

The details of the plan include:

•    $94.7 million for Supplemental State Aid (SSA), building upon the House Majority ’s strong commitment to K-12 schools over the last decade.
•    $7.25 million to reduce transportation costs for rural schools and ensure no school spends more than the statewide average. This will ensure that more dollars make their way into the classroom rather than being spent to bus students to and from school.
•    $5.8 million in equity funding to further reduce the cost per pupil gap by $10 per student. This continues to reduce a long-time inequity that has existed in the school funding formula since the 1970s.

The House plan provides
the same amount of SSA as Governor Reynolds while providing additional dollars for rural school transportation costs and per pupil equity. Currently, Iowa pays $6,880 per pupil per year, and with the proposed Supplemental State Aid package the state will increase funding to $7,062 per pupil per year. 

The K-12 House proposal fits within the state budget and provides schools with a reasonable increase that they can depend on. The House Majority has made it a priority to follow through on the commitments that have been made to schools and will continue to do so this year. 

 Since 2011, Iowa has added almost 3,500 new teachers to Iowa classrooms. This is a stark contrast compared to   2010 when the state lost nearly 1,000 educators due to budget mismanagement and a 10% cut to schools. The House has also worked hard to lower class sizes in the state of Iowa. According to Condition of Education Report, the student-teacher ratio has declined to 13.04 per student. This ratio has declined every year since 2011, even while enrollment has grown steadily overtime. Iowa teacher pay continued to rise with the average salary coming in at $59,220. According to the report, the gap has been reduced significantly in recent years. Additionally, third party studies say that Iowa’s teacher pay ranks among the highest in the country. 

This week I had the opportunity to welcome some constituents to the State House to discuss their legislative priorities. I was able to get a picture with both a group of  superintendents/school board members from West Delaware and Western Dubuque. We also welcomed a group of students from the Anamosa FFA Chapter. 

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